For Immediate Release - July 30, 2010

AG's Office Arraigns Four People in Connection with Allegedly Collecting Unemployment Benefits While Working

BOSTON - Attorney General Martha Coakley's Office has arraigned three men and one woman who, separately, schemed to collect unemployment benefits fraudulently while continuing to work. In total, these individuals defrauded the Commonwealth of nearly $80,000 in benefits. The charges come as the result of investigations referred to the Attorney General's Office by the Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development's Division of Unemployment Assistance (EOLWD\DUA).

JEFFREY WALSH
Jeffrey Walsh, age 45, of South Attleboro, is charged with Unemployment Fraud (31 counts) and Larceny over $250. In June 2008, Walsh became separated from his employment. In October 2008, Walsh applied for unemployment insurance benefits and received his first check that same week. Walsh gained full-time employment in January 2009, but continued to apply for unemployment benefits. Investigators discovered that from January 2009 through August 2009, Walsh fraudulently accepted a total of over $22,000 in unemployment benefits while working full-time. During this time period, Walsh allegedly informed the EOLWD/DUA that he had looked for work, that he was able and available to work and that he did not work. The EOLWD/DUA relied upon these false statements in their issuance of unemployment benefit checks. On July 15, 2010, a Suffolk County Grand Jury returned indictments against Walsh. Yesterday, Walsh defaulted at his arraignment in Suffolk Superior Court and a warrant will be issued for his arrest.

BRIAN CARUSO
Brian Caruso, age 32, of Watertown, is charged with Unemployment Fraud (39 counts) and Larceny over $250 (2 counts). Caruso became separated from his employment in September 2007, at which time he applied for unemployment benefits. In November 2007 Caruso became employed full-time. Authorities allege that from November 2007 through April 2008, Caruso fraudulently accepted more than $12,000 in unemployment benefits to which he was not entitled. During this time period Caruso allegedly informed the EOLWD/DUA that he had looked for work, that he was able and available to work and that he did not work. The EOLWD/DUA relied upon these false statements in their issuance of unemployment benefit checks.

In October 2008, investigators discovered that Caruso, while working full-time, again committed fraud when he accepted unemployment benefits totaling nearly $7,000 from October 2008 through February 2009. Caruso informed the EOLWD/DUA that he had looked for work, that he was able and available to work, and that he did not work. The EOLWD/DUA relied upon these false statements in their issuance of unemployment benefit checks. Authorities allege that Caruso received over $19,000 in fraudulently obtained benefits during the two schemes. A Suffolk County Grand Jury returned indictments against Caruso on July 15, 2010. He was arraigned yesterday in Suffolk Superior Court where he entered a plea of not guilty and was released on personal recognizance. Caruso is due back in court on August 26, 2010, for a pre-trial conference.

TERRENCE SHIELDS
Terrence Shields, age 55, of Taunton, is charged with Unemployment Fraud (45 counts) and Larceny over $250 (2 counts). According to authorities, Shields applied for unemployment benefits beginning in July 2006. Investigators discovered that just three weeks later, Shields began working at various auto dealerships in the state. Authorities allege that on 14 separate occasions between July 2006 through June 2007, Shields represented to the EOLWD/DUA that he was not working, although he was working as a full time employee. Shields also failed to inform EOLWD/DUA of his earnings and employment each of the relevant weeks throughout his unemployment claim with EOLWD/DUA. Shields allegedly obtained over $7,000 in unemployment benefits during his first fraudulent claim.

Shields initiated his second fraudulent claim in July 2007. Investigators discovered that at this time Shields was employed full-time. Authorities allege that for 31 weeks, from mid-July 2007 to February 2008, Shields told the EOLWD/DUA that he was not working, although he was working as a full time employee. He also failed to inform EOLWD/DUA of his earnings and employment each week throughout his unemployment claim with EOLWD/DUA. In his second claim, Shields fraudulently obtained over $17,000 in unemployment benefits to which he was not entitled. Authorities allege that Shields stole a total of over $25,000 in unemployment benefits. A Suffolk County Grand Jury returned indictments against Shields on July 22, 2010. Yesterday, he was arraigned in Suffolk Superior Court where he entered a plea of not guilty and was released on personal recognizance. He is due back in court on September 16, 2010, for a pre-trial conference.

RENEE PITTMAN
Renee Pittman, age 44, of Belmont, is charged with Unemployment Fraud (20 counts) and Larceny over $250. Pittman applied for unemployment benefits beginning in September 2007, while she was fully employed at a private health care firm. Investigators discovered that for every week between December 2007 through April 2008, Pittman informed the EOLWD/DUA, via the telephone, that she had looked for work, that she was able and available to work, and that she did not work. The EOLWD/DUA relied upon these false statements in their issuance of unemployment benefit checks. Investigators discovered that during this time period Pittman stole $13,500 in unemployment benefits to which she was not entitled. She was arraigned yesterday Boston Municipal Court where she pled not guilty and was released on personal recognizance. She is due back in court on August 26, 2010, for a pre-trial conference. .

AG Coakley's Insurance and Unemployment Fraud Division works to protect consumers and the integrity of the insurance system by investigating and prosecuting those who commit fraud against all types of insurers, including the Commonwealth's unemployment insurance and workers' compensation system. The prosecution of insurance fraud helps prevent the increase in premiums and taxes that are the result of fraudulent insurance claims. In Fiscal Year 2009, the Insurance and Unemployment Fraud Division obtained over $2.6 million in restitution orders in 103 matters.

To report unemployment fraud to the EOLWD\DUA, call the agency's toll free fraud hotline at 1-800-354-9927 anytime, 24 hours a day. Callers may remain anonymous.

The cases are being prosecuted by Assistant Attorneys General Marina Moriarty, Joshua Pakstis and Jennifer Cotter, all of AG Coakley's Insurance and Unemployment Fraud Division with assistance from investigators Luke Goldworm and Scott Gisetto of the Attorney General's Office and investigator Mark St. Onge from EOLWD\DUA

#########